These days more and more bands from Sweden are no longer in the death and black metal genre, but that doesn't mean that this genre is dead! Only a larger variety of music is now coming from Sweden. A few days ago I got the CD of the Swedish band Dragonland and so you now have the chance to read the interview I've done with guitarist Nicklas Magnusson by email.
When do you had the idea for Dragonland first?
It was when I quit my old band Prophanity in 1999, the inspiration and motivation for that band was totally gone even though we did release 1 album. I felt that I had to start something new that felt more as my own band!!!
So I met an old friend (Jonas Heidgert, the singer) and we formed the band.
Tell us about the beginning of the band! Why do you decided to name the band Dragonland?
The name stands for the mystical and legendary lyrical concept we have been writing about for 2 albums now, on the future releases we will try to write about different things than fantasy though.
How did you found the other band members? Are you / them still involved in other bands?
Well, we have mostly gathered friends who we had played with in other bands before who we knew could do the job.
Jonas is involved in a power metal band with former Sinergy drummer Mats Karlsson, Elias, I don't think have any other projects, Christer also plays in Nightshade whom I also have played with several times, but I have had to quit and concentrate on Dragonland instead. Olle and I have a Death Metal band called Rapture for which we will record a demo as soon as we find a new drummer.
Besides that I have 2 side projects that I will record demos for when I have time, 1 folk metal band and one kind of raw aggressive heavy metal band.
Your debut is called Battle Of The Ivory Plains. Please tell us in a nutshell the story behind the concept which is now finished with your 2nd release Holy War! But about your latest release we will talk later... Just tell about the story.
Well the story takes place in the fantasy world called Dragonland a world where everyone walks backwards and ... ehhh, oops wrong story hehe...
It is a world where the evil gods have taken control and forces the poor inhabitants of the world battle each other, the story is about how they after much struggle take back their world... I don't want to reveal too much, cause it's a lot of surprises.
Can you tell us about the recordings? The album is produced by Andy LaRoque. Why do you decided to work with him?
Yes, on the first albums we used Andy la Roque, well his studio is close to where we live and it has a good price... And since I have worked a couple of times there before, there was no real doubt about it!!!
He's a great guy to work with really down to earth and has a million helpful ideas in store all the time.
Is recording with Dragonland different to recordings in the past with other bands?
No, not the actual recording procedure it's always the same... Only the craziness that comes out of us is maybe different... hehe... Lots of insane memories.
How would you describe your music? What inspires you musically?
It's different all the time, maybe not always music inspires me to write music, but feelings and impressions gets the better stuff out of me.
Which song is presenting the album best in your opinion?
On the first one I'd say Worlds End, on the new one Majesty Of The Mithril Mountains or Holy War.
How were the reactions after the release of the debut?
VERY different, the Japanese are totally crazy about us, we got loads of die-hard fans there who sent us lots of gifts and stuff. It's fantastic. And the Italians totally hates us, haven't seen one good review from there at all medium at best.
We immediately became the best selling band on Black Lotus Records which was quite fun indeed.
Btw, how came that you signed with a Greek label?
We sent out our demo CD to every label possible and we just compared the deals we were offered and took the ones most beneficial to us at that time.
Your album Holy War was recorded earlier this year at the famous Studio Fredman. Why you decided to work with Patrick J. and Fredrik Nordström?
Mostly because we got a much better recording budget since our first album sold really well. So we choose the studio we liked the most and had heard many great recordings from.
The album was mastered in Athens. Unusual... Tell us why?
This was something we had no control over, unfortunately it was totally the record labels decision. We didn't even had anything to say about it. I think the sound got a bit spoiled, because of this, we will be present at the next mastering and do it here in Sweden.
On the title track Gus G. from Dream Evil added a guitar solo. How come?
Cause he was in the studio a lot when we recorded the album, and we thought he was a nice guy and he did a great job on the Dream Evil CD. So, we though why not?
The artwork is done by Chrille Andersson. How did you get in touch? Was the artwork his idea? Or did he realize what you had in mind?
A couple of years ago my former band Prophanity had a gig with his previous band Non Serviam in Malmö, Sweden. So we met there, and when it was time for getting some artwork for the Dragonland CD I had heard that he had started to do a lot of great CD cover art. So I got in touch with him and we got a really good price. We just told him the style of music and what the lyrics was about and let him do something cool.
Are there any plans for a tour in fall? Or probably just a few shows in Scandinavia?
There are some loose plans about different gigs in Europe, but nothing settled yet. First we need to get ourselves a LIVE-situation drummer.
There will be a Scandinavian tour as soon as we find a drummer though, one gig here in Gothenburg is already booked with Freternia and us.
Are there any plans to play festivals next summer?
Absolutely by then we will most certainly have a drummer and we will try to get on as many festivals as possible.
If you play live, do you work with a touring drummer? Or have you found a drummer who's now officially part of the band?
As I told you we are working on it hehe...
What can the fans expect from Dragonland live?
Great energy from the stage! We can be very active and present on stage, a great intense show is promised.
What do you think about MP3? Couldn't it help a young band to reach more fans?
Absolutely! I think that's one of the reasons for our success, we have had over 70,000 mp3 downloads actually. Places like MP3.com are great for new bands.
You have a website for Dragonland. What can people expect to find? Any specials?
We are working on putting up as many special things and hard to get info on the band as possible on the site.
What can we expect from Dragonland in future?
Well, we are in the progress of looking for various label interest. So, maybe great news soon... Except for that maybe it will be some touring to look forward, too. We will probably start to record the third opus at the beginning of next year.
Famous last words.... Anything you want to tell your fans?
Stay heavy and expect a lot of albums from Dragonland in the future. We will be around for a long time.
Thanks for the interview and I hope to see the band live soon... Check them out!